134 Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness

random acts of kindness ideas

The devastation of the recent Sandy Hook tragedy has prompted people to start asking themselves, “What can I do to change this?” and “How can we prevent this from happening again?”

Ann Curry says, “If you do good, you’ll feel good.” She suggests that we all perform 26 Acts of Kindness, 1 act of kindness for every single life that was lost in the shooting (can’t help but cry as I write this).

Here are some ideas to help you spread the kindness. Not everyone is bad. Don’t lose your faith in humanity.

Let’s do what we can, right now, today.

134 Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness…

1. Befriend the lonely person

2. Introduce yourself to your neighbors

3. Compliment a stranger

4. Sing Christmas Carols at a nursing home – Then have everyone over to your house after for cookies and cocoa

5. Adopt an animal from the pound

6. Donate your talents

7. Send paper thank you notes

8. Pay for the coffee, the toll, or the bus fare for the person behind you

9. Let the person who seems rushed cut in front of you

10. Hold your tongue – Pause before speaking or writing when you are mad, agitated or doubtful

11. Be empathetic Really try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes

12. Be thoughtful – Did your co-worker have a bad day today? Bring her a coffee tomorrow morning.

13. Hold the door open for someone

14. Play cupid – You know those two people who would totally be great together and they just haven’t met yet? Get them in the same room together and let nature take it’s course. Helpful hint from a wannabe match-maker (me) don’t tell them you want to set them up and then sit there and watch them all night long to see how it’s going and if you were right (been there, done that, totally doesn’t work. All I’ve got to say about that is, hello awkward!). Introduce them and then bring up the common ground that they share. “Betty Sue, you’re from New Orleans just like Tim Bob here!” (you like those names don’t you). They just might be a match, and then, at their wedding (we’re going full-on optimist here) you’ll be able to tell everyone, “Told you so!”

15. Give your boxes to someone who is moving

16. Be thankful

17. Be encouraging

18. Let people merge-in during traffic

19. Help people move

20. Say “Thank you”, a lot – Everyone works hard. Thanks are especially important to the postal worker, the government employee, the DMW clerk, the bus driver, the grocery store cashiers (especially when you bring up all that produce and they have to look-up every single code) and baggers

21. Call your parents and tell them you love them

22. Let your partner watch their show – And don’t roll your eyes or huff and puff about it

23. Don’t be annoying – Make a conscious effort to avoid doing the things you know annoy your spouse (or roommates)

24. Send your friend a letter

25. Volunteer at a department of corrections or juvenile hall

26. Spread your skills – If you have a skill (photography, outfit styling, cooking, website programming, etc.) and you know someone who has expressed an interest in what you do offer to teacher them what you know

27. Give freely – Go through your things and give freely to those in need

28. Have a shirt that your friend always compliments you on? Why not give it to her?

29. Offer to get groceries for your friend or relative who has a broken leg or other mobility problem

30. Make extra copies of photos and send them to the people who are in the images

31. Offer to help your friend unpack

32. Call everyone you know and tell them you love them

33. Give warm clothes, shoes, and boots to the homeless

34. Help someone whose car has broken down

35. Connect people to each other

36. Walk the cart back to the front of the store

37. Reach out to a person who has made a difference in your life

38. Send a care package to a solider

39. Listen when no one else wants to

40. Be patient

41. Try to find goodness in the person you don’t like

42. Ask someone if they’ve lost some weight or tell them that they’re “just glowing”

43. Know someone who just had a baby or other major life event? – Bring a meal, offer to clean up their house or do a load of laundry for them.

44. Do you know that your partner hates doing the dishes but you don’t really mind doing them? Do them.

45. Don’t nag – Even if you really, really, really want to

46. Be kind to yourself – Make peace with your past mistakes. Use that knowledge to help others who might be going through the same thing.

47. Let it go

48. Be someone’s cheerleader

49. Already sweeping leaves or shoveling the snow off your sidewalk? – Do your neighbors sidewalk too.

50. Do nice things and don’t tell anyone about it

51. Notice a kid being well-behaved? – Tell their parents how good they are while the kid is standing there. It will encourage the kid to continue being good, and will make the parents feel good.

52. (Along the same lines as #51) Compliment people in front of others – For some reason compliments hold more weight when they’re done in front of others.

53. Bring donuts or other delicious sweets to work

54. Give chocolate generously and often;)

55. Tell your boss how much you like working for them and how much you’ve learned from them over the years

56. Bake a cake for the birthday person

57. Don’t complain

58. Be the eternal optimist of the group 

59. Recognize the good in others

60. Look for the best in the situation

61. Leave nice comments on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook

62. Stand up for the underdog

63. Come to the rescue of someone in need

64. Smile easily and laugh – Even at the so-so jokes

65. Share – Even if you don’t really want to

66. Let someone else have your seat on the crowded bus, light-rail or subway

67. Rather than throwing away obviously lost items turn them into the “Lost and Found” desk

68. Do the task no one else wants to do

69. Create a happy book – Gather all your good memories and thoughts into 1 spot

70. Keep a pen on hand – Lend it to people when needed

71. Don’t leave others waiting for you – Be on time

72. Fill up the gas tank and/or wash the car for your partner and then leave candy on the dashboard for them to find in the morning before work.

73. Tell your partner how amazingly “hot” they are

74. Tell your partner what a good hair/butt day they’re having

75. Tell your partners parents how talented your partner is at something

76. Tip generously 

77. Say “Hi” to strangers

78. Smile at people

79. Help lost people – See tourists wandering around lost? Help them out. Be their new local friend. Someone did this for us once and we were so, so thankful.

80. Offer a ride to someone who is car-less

81. Help that stressed parent by offering to babysit

82. If the work-day is running late and you know your co-worker has somewhere they have to be offer to stay late so they don’t have to worry about figuring it out

83. Thank your co-workers for doing a good job, for getting extra supplies, for thinking ahead, for being easy to work with

84. Donate your old car and clothes to charities

85. Go to your friend’s kid’s event

86. Buy the stuff the neighbor kid is selling – Moderately, of course;)

87. Stop at the neighbor kid’s lemonade stand and make a purchase

88. Create a “Dress-Up” box for a kid

89. Skype or FaceTime with the kids in your life – My nieces and nephews LOVE FaceTiming and I love to see them smiling and showing off their latest creation or other things that they’re prod of :)

90. Pick up the tab – Go up to the waiter and pay when no one is watching (of course only if you’re in the financial situation to do so)

91. Avoid gossip – No need to spread any negativity

92. Give the painter, electrician, or handyman a glass of water or offer them a pop

93. Be understanding – Assume the best in others. If someone is running late or has called in sick don’t assume they’re trying to get out of something.

94. Go to your friends art opening

95. Spread the word – If you know someone who takes pictures, paints interiors, is a super nanny, a wonderful accountant, etc. Let others know. People who work for themselves need word of mouth referrals more than anyone else.

96. Be inviting – Ask people to do something with you

97. Leave extra time in the parking meter

98. Don’t write the complaint letter that you’re thinking about writing

99. Hang out with the person who just moved to town

100. Drop quarters on the sidewalk for people to find

101. Leave a whole bunch of pennies heads-up for kids to find on the sidewalk or other public places – Kids love finding heads-up pennies

102. Be understanding of traveling parents with the grumpy or noisy kids

103. Pack extra snacks and offer them to your co-workers or friends

104. Leave good books (or other nice stuff) for your fellow apartment dwellers to take from your shared common spaces

105. Compliment people on their homes

106. Forgive the person you used to hate back in the day

107. Make amends for the wrongs you have done

108. Respect your partner and don’t make decisions without their input

109. Let someone else have their way without putting up a fight about it

110. Donate your vacation or sick days to a person at work who is struggling with cancer or another horrible illness

111. Participate – The people who organize events always worry that no one will take part. That ugly sweater contest or bake-off needs you!

112. Respond timely – Even if you have to say, “Hey, just wanted to let you know I got your email and I’ll get right back to you.” People like to know they’re not being ignored.

113. Don’t leave people hanging – If you’re not into something someone suggests just tell them so (especially in a professional or work-related situation – don’t act like they’re a date that you want to stand-up/avoid- not professional or cool, at all. Be kind.)

114. Lend your expertise – Know intellectual property law? Help out a friend who really needs that assist.

115. Give CD’s to your friends that have your favorite songs on them

116. Send a surprise book to someone from an online retailer

117. Don’t let your friends (or co-workers or acquaintances) be alone on the holidays

118. Listen to someone’s life story – Yes, the whole thing

119. Be friendly on public transportation

120. Keep your bad attitude to yourself

121. Decorate for the holidays

122. Be happy for others

123. Be super enthusiastic when people have good news!

124. Don’t butt-in or give advice when you’re not asked for it – Have confidence in others; trust that they are fully capable of being in charge of their own lives.

125. Mind your own business

126. Selflessly help (and promote) others

127. Give a glowing recommendation

128. Tell the person who is looking for a job when you hear about an opening

129. Know that someone was Valedictorian, Homecoming Queen, or Prom King in high school? Tell others because they can’t tell people themselves (without it sounding like they’re bragging)

130. Call your in-laws

131. Help people out who might be feeling awkward

132. Generously give your knowledge

133. Have you discovered something that has changed your life? – Share what you know and inspire others to change their lives too

134. Spread the goodness – Let others know you are on a mission to spread kindness and they will be inspired to do the same


You can be the change you want to see. Let’s do what we can, together.


How do you spread kindness? What are your ideas for random acts of kindness and will you be doing the 26 Acts of Kindness challenge? 


illustration (sans text) giovana milanezi


90 thoughts on “134 Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness

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  1. Alice

    Thank you for sharing these. They are great and the movement is inspiring. In a convergence of kindness and frugality that I think you might appreciate, I recently had an extra coupon for 50% off any item at a craft store and knew I would not be able to use it, so I gave it away to the person behind me in line. The recipient said, “You’re awesome! Thank you!” It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day a little better, and your day will almost certainly be better for it too.

  2. Heather

    I like this movement. Especially since the town is saying to please not send anything else and to do something in the name of the victims. I also like the idea of helping out those in need in your own home town. That is the spirit of what Christmas was initially about – not the super hyper “buy, buy, buy” mentality that it has become for most. I especially like the idea of donating time to someone else. Volunteering to watch a toddler for free is a big blessing for many young couples, especially those that do not have family close by. I also like the idea of tipping and / or over-tipping those who perform services for you. Be careful about home baked goods though. Unfortunately, many school districts now have mandates that ALL HOMEMADE GOODS BE THROWN OUT RATHER THAN CONSUMED. They claim that it is a safety issue.

  3. Alicia @HumbleFoodie

    Thank you so much for sharing the #26acts idea. Reading this post and then the NBC page with all the pictures and screen captures of wonderful things people are doing for strangers made me cry in the best possible way. It’s beautiful that people can try to bring something positive out of such a tragedy. I really appreciate your many frugal ideas- I’m not in a place to spend a lot of money but I’m still wholeheartedly participating. Thank you!

  4. Vickii

    I LOVE this! Love it love it love it! I’ve printed it out, I’ll carry it around with me so it’s in my consciousness and I’ll try and do as many as I can. Thank you :)

  5. Samantha

    There are so many things people can do to help others. This year I’m finishing up 366 random acts of kindness. Some of the things I did was
    give toys to a local group collecting for foster kids
    take food to a food bank
    leave coins in kids books at the library
    Commented on people’s blogs
    Smiled at everyone
    Held the door
    Gave directions and a map to someone who was lost.
    Ordered magazine subscriptions for a nursing home.
    Shopped local. Supported local crafters, farmers, and businesses.

  6. Heidi S.

    Thank you for sharing these ideas! I am just beginning a year of kindness for 2013. I have also started a blog to document my year. I included a link to your blog to share your fabulous ideas. Thanks again!

  7. Helena

    LOVE this. Just reading them made me all excited to be little more thoughtful. Esp. love the idea to drop quarters on the ground, for people to find. Finding them always makes me feel lucky!!

  8. Cate

    This is the most beautiful thing that I have found on a blog or website in a long time (including all the pretty, pretty things on pinterest)! Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  9. Lauren

    I’m so so happy that people are doing the 26 acts of kindness! I know I’m really late… But it’s never too late to be nice, right?? :D another idea I had (because I’m in eighth grade) was, with my best friend, put an inspirational note in every locker in the locker room on the last week of school. We aren’t going to tell anyone except the pe teacher, and I’m really excited!! I think the 26 acts of kindness is a GREAT way to show respect and love for all the families affected by the sandy hook tragedy, thank you so much <3 :)

  10. megan

    Per idea #42, be sensitive about people’s feelings on the topic. As an overweight person, I personally do not like comments about weight loss. Not everyone will feel the same way and, despite recognizing their good intentions, when people tell me that I’ve lost weight or that I look “better” or “great” now, I get a little sad that I didn’t warrant a comment like that when I was heavier. Weight is a prickly subject for us that struggle with it. I love so many of the other ideas, just know your audience with this one. If someone has publicly been working on their weight loss goals, this would be a great compliment. If not, maybe leave out the “lost weight” part and just tell them they look good without emphasis on their weight.

    1. Anna Newell Jones

      That’s a really good point. Thanks for bringing it up. Weight is such a tricky and personal subject. Definitely better to play it safe, and avoid that part of the compliment all together.

  11. TILDA

    Thank you for those suggested items of kindness. They are truly wonderful and I’ll use some of them in my business and ministry. Blest and highly favored You are!
    Tilda King- Martin

  12. maury

    You will never believe this; but a mutual friend suggested a “get-to-know-you” ice cream date with a co-worker three years ago. After two HOURS, we knew we were soul mates and married 15 months later. She was an honored guest at our wedding! I had declared over and over for for years that I would never get married again…then I made a liar out of myself at 57!

  13. Crystal R

    I have always been a kind person, almost to a fault. After having my home robbed by people I had been helping who lived near my neighborhood, everything changed. My other neighbors no longer would speak to me and my husband blamed me for being TOO KIND and never spoke to me again. It is now 3 yrs. later. I have been alone but never gave up my sense of being kind. I recently had a delivery from winning all 12 days of Ellen DeGeneres prizes and do not have 1 friend or relative to share these rewards. It is my mission to find those people who have never flown in an airplane, never stayed in a hotel, or who do not own a computer, to share all of this joy. People need to remember that kindness does not cost a thing and will be remembered for eternity. Perhaps I can save myself while I am helping others. God has been carrying me for a long time and now it is my turn to carry others. Mahalo for this special page filled with wonderful thoughts and ideas. We do not need to wait for something terrible to happen to show a little kindness towards one another. Opening a door or saying please and thank you can make all the difference in the world to the other person. Try it.

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Those little kindnesses do go such a long way. Especially because we have no idea how much it might mean to the other person if they’re going through a particularly tough time it could make a big difference in their day, or a little kindness could make their good day even better!

  14. Sarah Adams

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas! I will make an effort to do these things at home, work, gym and every where else I go.

  15. Neha Mehra

    There are so many amazing people in this world who are not selfish and are on a mission to help people to make themselves better or do some act of kindness, in that group you’re one of them.Loved your article.Salute and respect to them because people like you and others are making this world a better place.

  16. Aubryn

    I was leaving Wal-Mart one day and I noticed this lady walking really slow and something about it concerned me. I turned my car around and asked her if she was okay and if she needed any help putting her groceries away. She smiled and said that she had a bad leg but that she was alright. She looked genuinely surprised that I even took the time to notice and show concern. I feel like it’s things like that these days that you never see anymore. People are too caught up in their own lives, that they rarely take the time to look around and notice others. I stumbled upon this article through Pinterest and it totally made my morning. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Sue

    Thank you for sharing these ideas. At this point in my life, I am trying to become more selfless. I believe that performing simple random acts of kindness like these will help me achieve my goal.

  18. Robyn

    when I go to Walmart, I create an adventure because the atmosphere is busy, rushed and hectic. I help people when they’re shopping. When they look confused or like they cannot find what they’re looking for, I ask what they’re looking for. I find it for them and if I can’t, I find help. I wait until help arrives and then I listen. I share my ideas and recipes with people when I learned that they are changing their diet or eating habits. I do this in every isle. When I get to the cashier, I think them for asking me how my experience was or how I am doing. I make a big deal out of how good their customer services and I make sure that the other people online can hear that. Then I think them for such an awesome experience. I help people in the parking lot as well. I say hello to everyone and make eye contact with. I love all the rude people to pass by me and I smile at them while they’re being grumpy.

  19. Droid ICs

    Lovely , Made my day , thanks ,…i probably forgot all items as soon as i read it ….only one thing sticks >>>BE NICE<<<<<,thanks for that

  20. Ian

    Thanks, Anna, for posting these great ideas. You are a gem for focusing on kindness – for it truly is what the world needs more of, and in the end, it’s the only thing that matters!

  21. Charlene B

    I truly love this! Sone of the things I’m doing already and some I will begin to do. May I ask what the 26 day challenge is? I would like to take part. When will it begin? Or do I do it on my own?

  22. Sherri Lynn Herrmann

    Greetings!!”I dig these ideas and use them on my Facebook page- Loving Acts of Kindness and Compassion – where I encourage all to share stories of offering and receiving spontaneous acts of compassion to inspire others!! Would love to ‘sear’ you all there!


  23. Lizzie

    I love this list but I have to agree with Megan about idea 42- I was feeling happy and good reading the list until I got to that and it felt like an instant smack in the face and for a split second made me kind of hate myself since I wasn’t expecting it… It really is not a compliment or an act of kindness for someone- this post did a great job of explaining why, much better than I – http://fitisafeministissue.com/2013/04/11/youve-lost-weight-you-look-great-isnt-a-compliment/ . But other than that this really is a beautiful list and I hope to be able to do many of these!

  24. pooja

    Some really good suggestions here …not only for being kinder but also becoming a much nicer person. Thank you ! God bless.

  25. hillary

    this i really very nice.It feels good to make people around you feel appreciated and happy.I hope i can do this my entire life.
    Appreciation from Kenya

  26. Rorroo

    Wow!! this is so sweet and exceptional!
    though, i wished these acts are kinda normal among humans! :(
    But thanks you made my day!! and im definitely will share this as much as i can!

  27. Ashlan

    What a great post! I love these ideas, but I want to say that you shouldn’t ask someone if they’ve lost weight, because that isn’t always a good thing:) Overall, amazing article!

  28. Ana Sacramento

    I love this post. I like to re-read it once and a while. All the ideas make me smile and believe that the world is a beautiful place, where beautiful people are genuinely concerned about others. Thank you.

  29. ️Allie

    This is so great I love this. I made a kindness box so every day I pick a random pice of paper that has one of these things on it and I do that one that day and then I start over when I run out. I am just a kid and this was helpful

  30. Raewyn C

    This is an Excellent Idea for Random Acts Of Kindness, BUT as a very shy person I haven’t been always well received with these offers & has put me off.
    I offer to help someone move & find they never ask me or say oh thanks I’ve had heaps of offers & never get back to you.
    Or you compliment someone, they look at you as if UM whatever.
    I find if I offer help in a supermarket I am looked at sideways as if what would you want to do that for.
    As I am very very shy this doesn’t help at all actually.
    Though I do find if I leave extra money in parking meter etc or let people merge in traffic, little things like that or buy someone a parcel & randomly leave it by the front door with a note from a friend, be better

  31. Cinnamon

    We all help each other and the only way is to help one another and we REALLY can change the world……. Put up signs in your nabhor hood that says nice things?????????????????? be. Like the people who inspire you

  32. Sujani Wijesundera

    You show your Act of kindness by publishing this list. THANK YOU FOR TRYING TO MAKE DIFFERENCE ON SOMEONES LIFE.

  33. Emmanuel Etim

    this is so cool. if everyone in the world could adopt these virtues, then this world would be a better place…

  34. Christine

    Just a friendly suggestion, I would take “ask someone if they’ve lost some weight” off. Little comments like that, if you don’t know the background of the person you’re saying it to, can be really damaging. You never know if someone has lost weight because they’re very sick, starving themselves, etc. I once overheard a conversation where one woman was just gushing over how skinny the other one was, and the second woman went on to let us all know that it’s because of cancer and her chemo treatments. Not everyone is actively trying to lose weight, and you just never know. And to someone like myself, who is in eating disorder recovery, these kinds of comments can trigger an obsessive cycle all over again. There are so, so many wonderful ways to compliment people without commenting on their weight or body! :)

  35. R.P.P.

    I strongly believe that I have been guided by a special
    touch and feeling to help me do what ever I can for
    people that are in need.

    I have given money to individuals at Dollar Stores….
    Paid for meals at restaraurants……….
    Given gifts for adults and children at CRISTMAS.
    Mailed checks….through third parties to help
    individuals in need of finances.
    Recycle computers to raise money for paralyzed
    and wounded military men and women.

    May GOD bless all human beings that need help.

  36. Lori

    I’ve found that just being tolerant, polite & smiling at everyone that I make eye contact with has greatly affected me as a human being. I used to be angry, bitter & only concerned with my own little world, even in public. Then I met a lady who became my friend & changed my whole perception of life & love. Sadly she passed away only a year into our friendship, but her inner beauty & infectious goodness had such an everlasting impact on me & literally transformed my inner core. In honor of my beautiful friend Liz, I made a view to start practicing more tolerance, kindness & compassion in every encounter I have with another person, no matter who, what, when, where or why. The change in me is obvious to all & has brightened my existence. I know in my heart that at least once I day I make at least one person feel better with something as small as a smile & the rewarding feeling deep within my spirit is immeasurable in human terms.

    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Hi Lori! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful ideas and the inspiration Liz gave you. I agree with you. We would be lucky to have you in our Facebook community to share the spirit. Here’s the link: SpendingFastersGroup.com

      I wish you a Wonderful New Year!!

  37. Carol

    I love your comments but feel I must say as much as it’s great to leave coins in children’s library books and the delight that follows when kids find it five dollar notes are better because my young child found a coin at home and immediately laid down to play with it which of course fell straight in her mouth turned sideways and blocked her breathing luckily I saw it pounced on her had to somehow turn the coin in her throat and fish it out it all ended with a healthy screaming distressed child who grew up with No memory of it so please guys notes please


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